BBC & Sky say “No appeal” to Gaza victims

January 29, 2009

The BBC and Sky TV are continuing to hold the line that broadcasting a humanitarian appeal for aid to help rebuild the Gaza Strip would compromise their journalistic credibility and their ability to objectively report on the Middle East conflict.

Overnight (Kiwi time) a group of protestors staged a sit-in at the BBC HQ in London and burned their TV licences. Meanwhile a group of British MPs is backing a motion in the House of Commons that would attempt to force the BBC to broadcast the appeal.

Meanwhile the appeal has already raised in the vicinity of $NZ 1.6 million.

The refusal of Sky to broadcast the appeal makes some sense, it is, after all, owned by Rupert Murdoch who is very pro-Israel and regularly feted by the Zionist lobby in the USA. Sky, like Fox in the US, is still neo-con in outlook and would never compromise Murdoch’s links with Israel.

However, the BBC case is more nuanced and I’m still struggling with the issue of credibility and compromise.

Read the rest of this entry »


Alan Johnston free at last

July 4, 2007


BBC correspondent Alan Johnston is freed by his captors and handed over to Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip after almost four months in captivity. Wednesday, 4 July 2007, 02:26 GMT 03:26 UK

Congratulations to Alan and all of his family, friends and supporters worldwide.
The BBC website is the best place to find out more. There’s a very scratchy audio interview with Alan and more pictures.


Alan Johnston – 14 weeks in captivity

June 18, 2007

It’s now 14 weeks since BBC correspondent Alan Johnston was kidnapped in Gaza. Given the events of the past week in which it seems Hamas has effectively destroyed the Palestinian Authority and the Fatah faction, it is a dangerous time for Johnston.

Hamas has apparently sent a message to the kidnappers demanding Johnston’s release. You can keep up with the story by clicking on the picture of Alan on the right of the page.


BBC’s Johnston wins press award

May 11, 2007

BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | BBC’s Johnston wins press award

Congratulations Alan. We all hope that you can come home to enjoy this win.
Apparently Al Jazeera has a video sent by Johnston’s captors, but it contains no new images of him, only a shot of his BBC identity card. The tape was sent by a group calling itself Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam). I have not been able to find a copy of the footage to link to.


Where is Alan Johnston?

May 4, 2007
Reuters Photo

Palestinians know whereabouts of kidnapped BBC man: Abbas. 03/05/2007. ABC News Online

Agence France Press reported this week that kidnapped BBC reporter Alan Johnston is being held in Gaza and that the Palestinian authorities know where he is. Apparently they haven’t launched a rescue operation because they are worried he’ll be killed.
There’s been no official or verifiable information about Alan since it was reported in mid-April that he was being held, or had already been killed by a little-known group called Tawheed & Jihad.


Livingstone urges Johnston’s release

April 25, 2007

Livingstone urges Johnston’s release: MediaGuardian.co.uk

The mayor of London, “Red” Ken Livingstone provided the latest call for the release of Alan Johnston when speaking on the Arabic-language al Hiwar television network.

There is still no word on Johnston’s fate since a previously nknown group callling itself Tahweed and Jihad brigade said they had killed him a week ago.


Reporters sans Frontieres calls for Johnston release

April 21, 2007

The global media watchdog group, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has called on the Palestinian Authority to pressure those holding BBC reporter Alan Johnston to provide evidence that he is still alive.
A few days ago the previously unknown group, the Tawhid and Jihad Brigades, said they had killed Alan, but later Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said he had evidence that Johnston was still alive.

On the 40th day since BBC correspondent Alan Johnston’s abduction in Gaza, Reporters Without Borders today called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to urge his kidnappers to produce evidence that he is still alive.

“We continue to be worried about Johnston’s fate and we call on President Abbas and Prime Minister Haniyeh to coordinate their efforts to obtain his release as soon as possible,” the press freedom organisation said.




Still no confirmation of Alan Johnston’s fate

April 17, 2007

There is still no confirmation of the fate of Alan Johnston despite Sunday’s announcement by a previously unknown group that it had killed the British journalist.
The BBC continues to report on the situtation, saying his family is very worried by the lack of firm news. Journalists and supporters have rallied around the world calling for Alan’s release. The BBC itself organised rallies across the UK

I can’t help wondering why, with all the sophisticated surveillance technologies at their disposal why the Israeli secret service or the CIA, or MI5 have not been able to locate Alan or his kidnappers.

Why would an Islamic or Palestinian group want to kidnap a BBC journalist? I’m worried that this story doesn’t make sense, but I have nothing to support my unease.

I’m going to keep looking.


Alan Johnston dead or alive?

April 16, 2007

The BBC is reporting that a Palestinian group calling itself the Al Tawhid Al Jihad brigade is claiming to have killed Alan Johnston. Johnston, the BBC’s Gaza correspondent was abducted on 12 March.
There is no independent confirmation of the statement by the group claiming to have been holding the reporter.


Release Alan Johnston

April 14, 2007
The BBC’s Gaza Correspondent, Alan Johnston, missing presumed kidnapped
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) on Friday [13 April] repeated its call for the immediate and unconditional release of BBC correspondent Alan Johnston who was kidnapped over a month ago in Gaza by a group that has yet to make any public statement about holding him.

On Monday the IFJ will participate in a vigil being held by the BBC in Brussels to urge his captors to free him. IFJ affiliates in Gaza, the West Bank, the UK and elsewhere have been demonstrating for Johnston’s release. “We are extremely worried about Alan and we call on the Palestinian government to do everything in its power to make sure he is released immediately,” said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. “These types of kidnappings are doing great harm not just to journalism but to the development of the region in general by making it impossible for journalists to work safely and report on developments there.” The IFJ is working with journalists of the BBC and their union based in the UK and Ireland, the National Union of Journalists, in a series of events highlighting the case of Johnston. The IFJ is asking journalists, media workers and supporters in Brussels to come to the demonstration on Monday, which will be held at 3:15 p.m. local time in front of the Berlaymont Building in Brussels. It will mark exactly 5 weeks from the date he was kidnapped by unknown men in Gaza.

This is the media statement from the IFJ, it is a tragic situation when a journalist is kidnapped or killed and it happens all too often in the Middle East. But it also happens in Russia Africa, Latin and South America, China and many other parts of the world.

The IFJ keeps an updated list of disappearances, murders and beatings of journalists.
Don’t shoot the messenger!